Joe worked all day with shovel in hand,
Digging a hole on the back of our land.
Behind our cabin so neat and tight,
Now he carries her out and lays her low
With trembling voice and words said slow
He covers her up and goes in for the night.
She did not play with me since I don’t know when,
Just stayed in the bed and got ever more thin.
He’d stopped taking me with him on his daily run
Leaving me here to comfort her some,
But she coughed and coughed while peace would not come.
But this morn’ she’s out back under a dusting of snow,
And Joe’s getting food – I’ll guess we’ll both go.
But first he visits her in her new bed
His face is crunched up and he keeps patting the snow
Like he wants to be with her and see her some more.
Now we head through the woods to old Maco Station
I know the path well without hesitation.
We then wait by the tracks for old Number 7
To come rumbling in and lurch to a stop
When he checks all the bearings and couplings up top.
We board the caboose and he stokes up the fire
So we don’t get cold til the sun climbs higher.
The day’s run is quiet and I watch his eyes water
As he sits being rocked by the clickety-clack
While the big eight-wheeler pounds down the track.
It’s late night now, and we’re on the run back
When he snatches a lantern from off of the rack.
I feel we’re not moving and the engine noise fades
So we must be decoupled and dead on the rail
But the passenger express will soon catch our tail
Old Joe jumps down and runs down the track
To signal the express to brake fast without slack
He runs quite a ways and I try to keep up
And the flying express, at last sees his light
The brakes slam on hard, the scene’s such a fright.
At the very last second old Joe stumbles down
And the screaming express drowns out his last sound.
Helpless I run to see about Joe
But his legs are here and his chest is right there
I find his head and get a hank of white hair.
I am sure that he wants to go home for a rest
It’s not far through these woods, I think this is best.
I arrive a bit tired carrying Joe by his hair
But the door to our house is locked up so tight
Then I get an idea of what he would like.
I take him round back where he’d laid her to bed,
And dig down beside her and drop in Joe’s head.
Then I cover them back with the dirt and the snow.
Now I crawl under the house to get out of the wind
To wait for the morrow and seek a new friend.